Go Back   iRV2 Forums > iRV2.com COMMUNITY FORUMS > iRV2.com General Discussion
Join iRV2 Today

Mission Statement: Supporting thoughtful exchange of knowledge, values and experience among RV enthusiasts.
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on iRV2
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-18-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
Senior Member
Butte64's Avatar
Tiffin Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Aiken County, SC
Posts: 1,259
Home Hot Water Heater Shutoff while gone

I have been given conflicting advice.

One says turn off the water when gone from home for an extended time and turn off the water heater so it does not keep heating and evaporating thereby burning up the heating element.

The other says don't turn off the HWH at home because doing so will encourage growth of bacteria and other nasty stuff to happen. Turn the heat to low and the water level will be fine.

So what do ya'll think?

2015 Phaeton 40 QBH, 2013 Honda CR-V
FMCA F428578
Butte64 is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 RV Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

iRV2.com RV Community - Are you about to start a new improvement on your RV or need some help with some maintenance? Do you need advice on what products to buy? Or maybe you can give others some advice? No matter where you fit in you'll find that iRV2 is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with other RV owners, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create an RV blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-18-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 24
I turn off my water and my water heater. My water heater has a pilot light and I see no reason to waist natural gas for an extended period of time. It seems to me that bacteria is more likely to grow in warm water (low setting) than cold.

Kenneth Neal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:33 PM   #3
Senior Member
tomwalt's Avatar
Tiffin Owners Club
Workhorse Chassis Owner
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 1,195
I turn mine off too.
Tom and Amy from Northern Virginia.
2000 Allegro 454/Workhorse P32/TST/Crossfire
Life is a DIY project - enjoy it.
tomwalt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #4
Senior Member
Stealth01's Avatar

Newmar Owners Club
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: MidWest
Posts: 629
We turn off the HWH and the water before leaving!
Ken & Anita
2011 Newmar Essex, 45'- 4522, Cummins 500 ISM, 2013 CRV, RVI2 Brake with TPMS
Stealth01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #5
RVM #74
PushedAround's Avatar

Tiffin Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Ambler, PA
Posts: 2,849
Blog Entries: 7
Originally Posted by Butte64 View Post
The other says don't turn off the HWH at home because doing so will encourage growth of bacteria and other nasty stuff to happen.
This makes little sense to me. If I were to be away for more than 2 weeks, I'd shut it off. Nothing will grow in there that wouldn't grow in your cold water pipes also.

Now if it was a very old water heater, I might be reticent to turn it off for fear of it cracking due to the thermal stress of it totally cooling and then reheating. It's only a thin layer of glass that lines the steel tank, and once it develops a crack, it is just a matter of time, and not much time either.
Larry & Cheryl Oscar, Louie, Ranger & Henry (our Springers)
2010 Allegro RED 38QBA "Harvey"
2009 Honda Element "Towster"
PushedAround is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:37 PM   #6
Community Administrator
Clifftall's Avatar

Fleetwood Owners Club
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 24,517
I always turned mine off when I had one. I now have an instant HWH and it is off as long as no water is passing through it and I shut the water off when I leave.

Cliff,Tallulah and Buddy ( 1999-2012 )
Clifftall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 06:49 PM   #7
Senior Member
Hooligan's Avatar
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pensacola
Posts: 1,966
Doubtful any bacteria would grow/survive in the hot water tank and with the water turned off no new water would be introduced.
Turn off both when we leave. Also turn off water lines to washing machine, probably out of habit......
Hooligan, Pensacola, Fl -U.S. Coast Guard 1956-1985
2016 Thor Siesta Sprinter 24ST diesel
Our Pug "Lily" & "George" the Newfoundland
Hooligan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:39 PM   #8
Senior Member
Elf111's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Ft wayne Indiana
Posts: 473
I doubt that bacteria will grow if it's city water however the water will stagnate and stink because of the anode rod in the tank. I would shut both off so I can sleep at night knowing my basement isn't becoming an indoor pool.
Elf111 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:47 PM   #9
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Woodstock, Georgia
Posts: 43
  1. It's a water heater, not a Hot water heater. You don't heat hot water.
  2. The rules vary if it's gas or electric.
  3. Electric, flip the breaker off. New codes (thank heavens!) require a disconnect at the water heater. Turning the water off is optional.
  4. Gas depends on how long you'll be gone. We rarely travel for more than a week so I turn my gas water heater valve to 'pilot.' It keeps the water warm enough not to grow any bacteria or bio-films. If gone for a month or so, I'd turn the WH gas valve all the way off. Re-light the WH and make sure to wait until it's fully heated the water before you use it. (a friend actually got Legionnaire's Disease by not waiting for the water to fully heat.)
If you decide to turn the water valve off, make double (dirty word) sure that you fill the tank before you turn the gas or electric back on.

30 years in the industry.
2008 Fleetwood Bounder 38N
2014 Ford F150 4X4 (hers)-L
1985 Ford F150 (his)-J
HeatAir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:47 PM   #10
Senior Member
djbmsu's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Charlotte Harbor, FL
Posts: 1,792
Beyond the silly bacteria issue, would be the potential for a broken Water heater, or water pipe when no one is home !
Don and Nancy
[2014 40QBH Phaeton, 2015 Buick Enclave, 2yr old sisters Sara n Kaycee, Havanese, Two Segways
djbmsu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:53 PM   #11
Senior Member
dons2346's Avatar
Country Coach Owners Club
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,667
I leave the pilot on when we are gone. You would be surprised how hot the water can be with just a pilot. I shut the water off to the house and don't worry about a tank leak
dons2346 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 07:59 PM   #12
Senior Member
bobmac's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 677
We ALWAYS turn off the water in the house when we travel. We also open all the taps to allow the water to drain to the lowest point in the house (basement). We have a natural gas HWH and set it to "Pilot" as turning it off requires relighting when we return and likely replacement of the thermocouple (learned through experience). We have a Honeywell heating/cooling thermostat that can be adjusted over the internet allowing us to lower temperatures in the winter and restore heating or AC before we return home. It can also be set (through the internet portal) to send email alerts when house temperatures go above or below defined thresholds. In our area, most home insurance claims are related to water damages so it is prudent to mitigate the opportunity where possible.
09 Journey 39Z
Southern Ontario
bobmac is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 08:38 PM   #13
Senior Member
Chuck 1935's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Freightliner Owners Club
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Shadow Hills,CA 91040
Posts: 3,019
Originally Posted by djbmsu View Post
Beyond the silly bacteria issue, would be the potential for a broken Water heater, or water pipe when no one is home !

Very rare but one hell of a mess if it happens. There are all those toilet supply lines and water lines for the ice maker, washing machine, dish washer that all have the potential of making for a bad day.
For me, I enjoy the peace of mind so that I don't have an OS moment upon returning home !!
How does that go....... An ounce of prevention......... You get the idea :-)
NOTE; I am not responsible for typos, poor grammer or misspelled word !
04 Itasca, Meridian 34H, 330 Cat/2003 CR V Toad
1933 Ford 3 Window,as seen in Bye Bye Birdie
Pvt. E1 Retired, Shadow Hills,Ca.
Chuck 1935 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2014, 09:31 PM   #14
Senior Member
Ford Super Duty Owner
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Kitts Hill, OH
Posts: 1,822
If Mine I'd shut it down completely. just flip the breaker, or turn the gas valve to pilot.

(RVM#26) THE U-RV 94 F-700/24 foot U-haul box home built RV
Mekanic is offline   Reply With Quote

heater, water, water heater

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bounder: No Hot Water rb4x4 Fleetwood Products Owner's Forum 6 02-26-2014 07:16 AM
Hot water heater flush bjlakatos Travel Trailer Discussion 3 02-19-2014 06:22 AM
Hot water tank cleaning Pilot135pd RV Systems & Appliances 7 01-20-2014 08:40 AM
Atwood water heater gas/electric problem (again!) robbyk RV Systems & Appliances 3 12-31-2013 08:59 AM
Help! Hot water heater isn't starting? Statgeek RV Systems & Appliances 19 08-11-2013 08:19 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:24 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.